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Research Technical Report

Prey and Plastic Ingestion of Pacific Northern Fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis rogersii) from Monterey Bay, California

Donnelly-Greenan, E.L., J.T. Harvey, H.M. Nevins, M.M. Hester, and W.A. Walker (June 2014)

Marine Pollution Bulletin 85:214-224

ABSTRACT

Marine plastic pollution affects seabirds, including Pacific Northern Fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis rodgersii), that feed at the surface and mistake plastic for prey or incidentally ingest it. Direct and indirect health issues can result, including satiety and possibly leading to inefficient foraging. Our objective was to examine fulmar body condition, identify cephalopod diet to species, enumerate and weigh ingested plastic, and determine if prey number and size were correlated with ingested plastics in beach-cast fulmars wintering in Monterey Bay California (2003, n = 178: 2007, n = 185). Fulmars consumed mostly Gonatus pyros, G. onyx, and G. californiensis of similar size for both years. We found a significant negative correlation between pectoral muscle index and average size of cephalopod beaks per stomach; a significant increase in plastic categories between 2003 and 2007; and no significant correlation between number and mass of plastic compared with number and size of prey for either year.

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